Located in the Horse Capital of the World, Keeneland is an internationally renowned racecourse and the Thoroughbred industry’s leading auction house. Founded in 1936, Keeneland’s mission is to continually invest in the industry and to preserve the tradition of Thoroughbred racing. Keeneland includes the Keeneland Racecourse, a Thoroughbred horse racing facility, and a sales complex, both in Lexington, Kentucky. Operated by the Keeneland Association, Inc., it is also known for its reference library.
From its inception, Keeneland’s founders intended it to be a special place – one that symbolizes the best in Thoroughbred racing in the heart of horse country. Here are some interesting recognition and historical facts that make Keeneland aSymbol of the Fine Traditions of the Thoroughbred:
- In 2009, the Horseplayers Association of North America introduced a rating system for 65 Thoroughbred racetracks in North America where Keeneland was ranked #1 of the top ten tracks.
- It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986.
- Keeneland is the world’s largest Thoroughbred auction house, conducting three sales annually: The September Yearling Sale, November Breeding Stock Sale, and January Horses of All Ages Sale.
- The 15-day spring meet is one of the richest in North America, with fifteen graded stakes races featuring the Blue Grass Stakes, a prep race for the Kentucky Derby.
- The 17-day fall meet features seventeen graded stakes races, six of which are Grade One events used as Breeders’ Cup preps.
- At the April and October Meets, there are 32 graded stakes worth $9.675 million, with 9 Breeders’ Cup Win-and-You’re-In events, and over 300,000 attendees annually.
- At the three annual Thoroughbred Auctions, (January, September and November), reaches over $500 million in sales annually with over 50 countries represented by buyers and sellers.
- In 1984 in preparation for a visit by Queen Elizabeth II, it built a trackside Winner’s Circle and created the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes.
- The track has a 1 1⁄16 miles (1,700 m) dirt oval and a seven and one-half furlong (0.875 miles (1,408 m)) turf oval.
The History of Keeneland
Keeneland was founded in 1936 as a nonprofit racing/auction entity on 147 acres (0.59 km) of farmland west of Lexington, which had been owned by Jack Keene, who was a driving force behind the building of the facility. It has used proceeds from races and its auctions to further the thoroughbred industry as well as to contribute to the surrounding community. The racing side of Keeneland, Keeneland Race Course, has conducted live race meets in April and October since 1936.
A National Historic Landmark, Keeneland features beautifully landscaped grounds that are open to the public every day. Fans and horsemen alike are welcome to enjoy our spectacular racing, attend one of our three horse sales or simply visit the grounds and celebrate Keeneland’s timeless beauty. [View the map].
Book a tour to learn about the history of Keeneland, go behind-the-scenes of our racing and sales operations, enjoy a trackside view of morning workouts, get an exclusive look at the Jockeys Quarters and much more on one of our must-see Keeneland tours. Visit the Keeneland Shop to browse our Keeneland-branded merchandise, equine gifts, home goods, barware and luxury apparel online.
Visit the Keeneland Library, whose mission is the preserve racing’s rich history. Established in 1939, the Keeneland Library is a public research and reference library that is one of the world’s largest repositories of information related to the Thoroughbred. Dedicated to preserving the history of the sport, the Library received a Special Eclipse Award in 2002 for its contributions to the Thoroughbred industry.
Plan for a day at the races in April or October at Keeneland by visiting Keeneland.com for ticket reservations, group tickets, reserved grandstand seating, private events, racing details, parking information and directions, and download the Keeneland Race Day App.
For racing fans under twelve, check out the Keeneland Kids Club, which is the official club for Keeneland fans 12 and under. Members of the Kids Club will receive an Official Keeneland Kids Club personalized membership card and new member welcome packet, a birthday card from Buckles, discounts, invitations to exclusive events and more. Best of all, it’s free!
Other upcoming events in 2018
- Keeneland Tours are available Tuesday through Friday, starting 8:30am
- The Paddock Dinner Series, A Keeneland-Crafted Event: Executive Chef Marc Therrien is proud to present a new way to experience Keeneland this summer: The Paddock Dinner Series. These intimate family-style dinners on May 10, June 14 and July 26 provide an opportunity to enjoy locally-sourced cuisine, craft cocktails and live music in the iconic setting of the Keeneland Paddock.
- Keeneland Concours d’Elegance on July 21, 2018: On the third weekend of July, the annual Keeneland Concours d’Elegance will again be held at the beautiful Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky, showcasing over 130 of the finest collector vehicles in the country–from antiques to future classics.
- September Yearling Sale on September 10-22, 2018: Keeneland’s September Yearling Sale is the global marketplace for Thoroughbred yearlings and is the world’s most important Thoroughbred sale.
- 2018 Fall Meet on October 5-7, 10-14, 17-21, 24-27, 2018: Keeneland’s 2018 Fall Race Meet opens Friday, October 5, and continues through Saturday, October 27. No racing will be held on Mondays or Tuesdays.
- November Breeding Stock Sale on November 5-16, 2018. Keeneland’s November Breeding Stock Sale – which catalogs broodmare, broodmare prospects, weanlings, horses of racing age, stallions, stallion prospects and shares – is the world’s most important auction of its type in terms of total sales and average.
Comfortable and Quality Lodging near Keeneland
Lexington Relocation has been providing visitors and residents to Kentucky with quality, affordable temporary housing for short and long-term needs for over 20 years. With a wide variety of locations all over the beautiful, scenic state of Kentucky, our fully furnished apartments are an excellent alternative to a hotel and most are pet friendly. We provide furnished apartments at Beaumont Farms, a property located just 3.5 miles away from Keeneland.
If you’re on the road with horse racing, sales meets or other equestrian events for several weeks or months throughout the year, you will see our furnished apartments are the ideal choice for the traveling guest when compared to hotel accommodations (see Hotel Rates Comparison). If you’re coming to town for an upcoming equestrian event in Lexington, KY, please call us today (859.273.3303) for a free, quick quote or fill out our online Temporary Housing Request form. See our Temporary Housing locations in Lexington KY.